Homelessness agency branches out to county 0
Tina Jackson is the new Homeless Prevention Services Coordinator for Haliburton County for A Place Called Home. With a new office in Minden and a satellite location in Haliburton, A Place Called Home is a social services agency looking to help those who suddenly find themselves without a place to live. ANGELICA BLENICH/HALIBURTON COUNTY ECHO/QMI AGENCY
They say there’s no place like home.
Tina Jackson believes that’s true and is hoping to find homes for those in need in Haliburton County.
Jackson is the recently appointed homelessness prevention co-ordinator for Haliburton County for A Place Called Home, a social services agency based in Lindsay.
The organization recently announced the launch of a six-month pilot program, expanding its presence with office spaces in Minden and Haliburton Village.
The pilot project is being funded by a federal grant through the Homelessness Partnering Strategy for Rural and Remote Homelessness initiatives.
Jackson has been working at the agency, which was founded in 1995, for close to 10 years.
A Place Called Home was originally founded by church organizations that partnered to tackle the issue of homelessness and build a shelter, said Jackson.
That shelter grew to accommodate 19 people, now in Lindsay.
“The shelter was always meant to serve the City of Kawartha Lakes and the county of Haliburton,” said Jackson. “However, for people in Haliburton County it’s disruptive to uproot and go to Lindsay.”
The pilot project will mean expanded services until this December and hopefully longer, if APCH is successful in securing additional funding, said Jackson.
The co-ordinator is working at the Minden office, at 146 Bobcaygeon Rd. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and in Haliburton on Mondays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Employment Resource Centre.
Jackson describes herself as a “portable office.”
“If a client called from Carnarvon and just could not get to me I can certainly go to them,” she said. “I’m like a walking office.”
Within her capacity as the homeless prevention co-ordinator for the county, Jackson aims to offer emergency housing to those facing a risk of becoming homeless.
While each case is different from the next, APCH aims to find the most financially suitable solution for both the individual and the agency.
“If a client has a significant tie to this community and needs to stay here I have some funds to put them in a hotel,” said Jackson. “If we have space in the Lindsay shelter … we would look at that until we could find permanent housing for them back here.”
While Haliburton County is an economically depressed area, signs of homelessness are not always easy to spot, unlike in cities or larger towns.
“You’re not likely going to see people sleeping on the sewer grates,” said Jackson. “That being said there are a number of residents here that prefer to sleep in tents. The majority of our clients are what we call couch surfing. So they spend one night at a friend’s place and the next night they’re over here.”
Difficulties arise in trying to connect with those individuals who don’t identify with being homeless, due to the stigma surrounding the word.
Along with tackling the housing crisis, APCH also provides services such as the emergency household and energy resource program, which assists those facing disconnections from utilities.
Another service the organization provides is an identification clinic that helps individuals replace items such as birth certificates, health cards and social insurance cards.
The agency discovered that people were struggling in getting forms of identification not because of a lack of funds, said Jackson.
“We were recognizing that there were a lot of clients that were having difficulties getting birth certificates as well as accessing health cards because if you’re homeless you don’t have an actual address, which is a requirement to get a health card,” said Jackson.
Another program pairs at-risk youth between the ages of 16 to 32 with a trustee, to help support youth in maintaining and finding shelter.
For more information on APCH and their services Jackson can be reached at 705-306-0565 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.